WHO DOES IT BETTER? MANUS x MACHINA

Location: New York

Date: May 5th- August 14th, 2016

Give me 30 seconds:

  1. If you have not been to the MET before, just know they have a suggested donation of $25 per person. You can pay whatever you feel like. 
  2. The Manus x Machina exhibit is two levels and is a pretty extensive one. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours to get through it all.
  3. If you can, go on a weekday before noon. Less people crowding around all the pieces so you can actually look closely and read the text. I arrived around 1pm and left around 3:30pm on a Thursday afternoon and the crowds to get in were pretty intense. Can't imagine how the weekends will be.
  4. The Manus x Machina exhibit is located in the Robert Lehman Wing,  directly in the back of the museum. Basically just head straight back. 
  5. The gift shop for this exhibit is downstairs and the exhibit flows in a circle, so if you skip over it, you can easily circle back around to it. 
  6. If you don't already, after seeing this exhibit, you will have true respect for fashion houses and the designers who bring their visions to life via their creations.
  7. Exhibit is made possible by Conde Nast and Apple

WOW...Just WOW. Simply mind blowing. The Manus x Machina exhibit deeply resonated with me because having worked in fashion and then seeing the growth and influence of the tech world in fashion brings my professional life full circle. Case and point, the Hermes x Apple Watch Collection. Enough said. If you would have told me that this luxury brand would one day partner up with the once dorky computer brand for one of the most coveted item around, I would have told you that you were losing your mind. 

Image via Apple

Image via Apple

Enter the newest exhibit for the MET talking about fashion in the age of technology organized by the Costume Institute in the Robert Lehman wing. Upon entry you will find yourself being lulled by hauntingly beautiful music along with the sight of a shimmering 20 foot embellished train. Undeniably the most photographed piece, front and center, is the Chanel Wedding ensemble with the train designed by Karl Lagerfeld in 2014, which took over 450 hours of workmanship to complete . Surrounding this is a circular hallway of over a dozen designer pieces that exemplify craftsmanship such as artificial flowers, embroideries and featherwork. Hauntingly beautiful music playing in the background  Moving downstairs you will find work that embrace lacework, leatherwork, 4D printing and pleating.

The signage does an amazing job of explaining the difference between "Haute Couture" and "Pret-a- porter" the the way garments are produced. The exhibit describes and presents the idea that hand and machine are equals in the forward movement of the fashion industry.

I won't get into crazy detail because lets be honest, I'm not going to tell you I know all of the history behind all of the creations at the fashion houses and blow your mind with my extensive fashion knowledge. But I will share with you my favorite pieces and some incredible quotes from the designers and hopefully inspire you to experience the exhibit for yourself. 

All too often, we forget that embroidery is still done by hand, just as it was in the eighteenth century. We can succeed in completely covering a dress with millions of sequins or beads placed one by one by fingers that, especially in our mechanical age, seem as though they come from fairy hands.
— Christian Dior
House of Dior, "L'Elephant Blanc" evening dress, Spring Summer 1958, haute couture 

House of Dior, "L'Elephant Blanc" evening dress, Spring Summer 1958, haute couture 

In a way, the hand is being lost today. Its important to me that a piece of clothing always feels like it has been touched by the hand at some point, event if there is a lot of machine work involved.”
— Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen
Christian Dior, Autumn Winter 1959, Haute Couture (left and center), Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen (right) 

Christian Dior, Autumn Winter 1959, Haute Couture (left and center), Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen (right) 

Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen

Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen

A lot of our embroideries are designed in our atelier, then sent to India to be executed...Everything was done by hand- the embroidery, the cutting, the fraying...It took days to finish. I lost track of the hours.
— Sarah Burton
Hubert de Givenchy for House of Givenchy, Evening dress 1963, Haute Couture 

Hubert de Givenchy for House of Givenchy, Evening dress 1963, Haute Couture 

Hubert de Givenchy for House of Givenchy, Evening dress 1963, Haute Couture

Hubert de Givenchy for House of Givenchy, Evening dress 1963, Haute Couture

The big difference between couture and ready-to-wear is not design. It is the fabrics, the handwork and the fittings. The act of creation is the same.
— Yves Saint Laurent
"Sardine" Dress, Saint Laurent 1983

"Sardine" Dress, Saint Laurent 1983

Nicolas Ghesquiere for Louis Vuitton Collection, Pret a Porter 

Nicolas Ghesquiere for Louis Vuitton Collection, Pret a Porter 

Below: Made from 100's of vertically aligned drinking straws, one in black, one in clear.

Gareth Pugh, Straws Dress

Gareth Pugh, Straws Dress

Gareth Pugh, Straws Dress

Gareth Pugh, Straws Dress

Paris used to have a special ambiance for fashion because it contained hundreds of dedicated craftsmen making buttons and flowers and feathers and all the trimmings of luxe which could be found nowhere else. Now there are just a few survivors.
— Cristobal Balenciaga
Raf Simons for Christian Dior, Autumn Winter 2012-13 Haute Couture; Prada Autumn Winter 2015 Ready to Wear 

Raf Simons for Christian Dior, Autumn Winter 2012-13 Haute Couture; Prada Autumn Winter 2015 Ready to Wear 

Prada Autumn Winter 2015 Ready to Wear 

Prada Autumn Winter 2015 Ready to Wear 

Giambattista Valli, Spring Summer 2013, Haute Couture (left), Hussein Chalayan "Duck Dress", SS 2000, pret a porter (right)

Giambattista Valli, Spring Summer 2013, Haute Couture (left), Hussein Chalayan "Duck Dress", SS 2000, pret a porter (right)

"Duck Dress", Giambattista Valli, Spring Summer 2013, Haute Couture

"Duck Dress", Giambattista Valli, Spring Summer 2013, Haute Couture

Hussein Chalayan, "Kaikoku" floating dress, Autumn Winter 2011 

Hussein Chalayan, "Kaikoku" floating dress, Autumn Winter 2011 

Prada 

Prada 

The flowers were taken from a school science textbook—basically, the flowers were like huge textbook images blown up. Although flowers are organic forms, I think that the precision of the machine-created appliqués helped accentuate the didactic nature of the scientific reference textbook. The details are a combination of machine and hand embroidery.
— Christopher Kane
Christopher Kane, Spring Summer 2014 Pret a Porter 

Christopher Kane, Spring Summer 2014 Pret a Porter 

House of Dior, "Vilmiron Dress" SS 1952, haute couture (left), "May" Dress SS 1953, haute couture (right)

House of Dior, "Vilmiron Dress" SS 1952, haute couture (left), "May" Dress SS 1953, haute couture (right)

Raf Simons for House of Dior

Raf Simons for House of Dior

Head downstairs with me...

Noa Raviv, 3D Printed Designs   

Noa Raviv, 3D Printed Designs 

 

IMG_5394.jpg
Saint Laurent, Spring Summer 1963, Haute Couture 

Saint Laurent, Spring Summer 1963, Haute Couture 

House of Chanel 

House of Chanel 

Raf Simons for House of Dior, Spring Summer 2015 Haute Couture 

Raf Simons for House of Dior, Spring Summer 2015 Haute Couture 

Raf Simons for House of Dior, Spring Summer 2015 Haute Couture 

Raf Simons for House of Dior, Spring Summer 2015 Haute Couture 

Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Wedding Ensemble, Autumn Winter 2014 Haute Couture 

Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Wedding Ensemble, Autumn Winter 2014 Haute Couture 

Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Wedding Ensemble, Autumn Winter 2014 Haute Couture 

Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel, Wedding Ensemble, Autumn Winter 2014 Haute Couture 

This is the type of exhibit that needs two different visits; the first to go in to soak it in, the second time possibly with a specified guide to explain more of the back details of all of the garments, especially the ones on the downstairs level. Stay tuned for my time with Museum Hack in which I will return to the MET for a private after hour tour, but for now, go see the exhibit, enjoy and prepare to be blown away! 

Of course I wanted to include some of my favorite look from this years MET Gala. Can we say #showstoppers?

Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa, Image via IBM

Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa, Image via IBM

Claire Danes in Zac Pozen, Image via Getty 

Claire Danes in Zac Pozen, Image via Getty 

Zoe Saldana in Dolce and Gabbana, Image via Vanity Fair  

Zoe Saldana in Dolce and Gabbana, Image via Vanity Fair  

Blake Lively in Burberry , Image via Getty 

Blake Lively in Burberry , Image via Getty 

See a pattern in gown style here? Full skirts are my jam! For more red carpet coverage, check out Vogue's roundup.

As always, GO JETSETAWAY!